Movement improves the brain

Asya Kazantseva has three videos of her lecture “How does sport affect the brain?” (once, two, three). To those who are too lazy to watch, I suggest that you look at my basic synopsis for 5-10 minutes and understand why it is better to be a runner than a jock.

  • Cardio affects the brain better than strength.
  • Even a one-hour training session improves brain function.
  • If you try hard, then the brain receives smaller oxygen.
  • A person runs more efficiently than a horse (long / long distances).
  • Running voluntarily is better than being forced.
  • If you trained for 30 years, and then quit, then your brain dries up.
  • Even 15 minutes of walking a day gives +3 years of life.

While walking, the butt is not loaded, but while running – it is loaded.

The ability to run, as an evolutionary advantage, developed before the brain.

Man has the largest booty among primates to run long distances, overtake a horse (35+ km) and drive antelope.

There are 35 km races where horses and people compete. Sometimes people win.

A person gets an advantage in running when it is very hot (African savannah). Good thermoregulation is the answer.

Some African hunters move 14 times more than the average American (134 minutes a day).

Movement is the reason for the development of the brain. While driving, there is a lot of thinking, many tasks are being solved.

In the brain, the zones associated with movement and memory are close.

There are “place neurons” that are activated only when the mouse enters a certain point in space. (Nobel Prize 2014). There are also “grid” neurons.

Even one-time training sessions increase cognitive abilities: attention, working memory.

Students pedaled an exercise bike for an hour (60-70% of their maximum heart rate), then passed Stroop test:

It is necessary to name the color of the word, suppressing the desire to read the word.

A single training session does not affect long-term memory. (Play a set of numbers after 20 minutes, hour, day.)

Study of 1,221,727 conscripts (Sweden):

The conscripts were pedaling too. Correlation: the more endurance, the more IQ. There is no such correlation with physical strength and intelligence (graph B).

The first explanation is blood flow. Better blood supply is good for the brain.

Scientists measured the incoming volume of oxygen (mask), and the vessels were measured with ultrasound.

When the load is increased from 0 to 60%, more blood / oxygen enters the brain. From 80 to 100%, the main task is cooling, so the blood does not go to the brain.

Near-red spectroscopy (750nm and above) of the prefrontal cortex shows the same. From 0 to 80% of the load, the amount of hemoglobin increases.

Trained people get more blood to the brain: the heart is stronger and new blood vessels grow.

The mice were divided into two groups:

  • voluntary (run as long as they want in the wheel)
  • forced (treadmill)

Running increases the amount of protein, which is responsible for the growth of blood vessels and the absorption of glucose.

Voluntary mice ran more and the scores were higher.

The “girls” did not increase anything at all during involuntary running.

9 subjects, all over 50 years old and 29 years old, ran for 4 hours a week (59 km per week). They were asked not to run for 10 days. Cognitive scores dropped (name number of fruits / animals per minute: 19.5 before and 17.4 after).

(Left column – did not run, right – ran for 30 minutes for 8 weeks)

After 8 weeks of running, cells in the hippocampus become larger.

If you have an interesting life after running, the new cells are more likely to survive (in mice).

Aerobic exercise leads to a change in the brain.

BDNF penetrates the BBB and can enter the blood plasma.

The first group of rats runs and is injected into the brain with a placebo, the second group of rats runs, but they are injected with a BDNF blocker. The third does not move and is injected with a placebo, the fourth does not move and is injected with a blocker. A week later – to the water labyrinth.

The molecular mechanisms behind the benefits of sports for the brain are not well understood.

The best gift for a grandmother is to take a walk with her. Or get hooked on Pokemon Go.

15 minutes of walking a day gives +3 years of life.


  • No need to maniac and reach maximum intensity.
  • Move regularly.
  • The older you are, the more important it is to move.
  • Cardio is more important than strength.


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